A round up of stories today about opportunity in America, pulled from a variety of nonprofits, race and immigration blogs, and mainstream media outlets. Cross posted at State of Opportunity, a blog about human rights and the American Dream.
- The Angry Asian Man blog has posted a series of inspiring articles about a woman who is working towards a degree from Harvard University. Kimberly S.M. Woo is a single mother who was once a homeless drug addict. In the process of turning her life around she sought an education as a means of escaping poverty and creating a better life for her five-year-old daughter. Woo is a stellar example of the power of redemption as well as our potential for social mobility. Like thousands of Americans, Woo was given a second chance and has excelled; after a year working for Americorp she attended a community college in Boston for her Associate's Degree, where she earned a 4.0 GPA before transferring to Harvard.
- This weekend saw a couple interesting articles about the politics behind skiing. Immigration News Daily has written about an Aspen Ski resort's efforts to find workers:
The Aspen Skiing Co.'s quest to find enough workers this winter led recruiters to Puerto Rico, among other places. The company hired about 20 workers from the Caribbean island this fall to work in various positions at its two lodging properties, The Little Nell hotel and Snowmass Lodge and Club, according to Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle. The Skico was forced to get creative this year when there was a snafu at the national level with the H-2B visa program for temporary guest workers. An exemption to the program expired Sept. 30, after Congress failed to address comprehensive immigration reform.
And the Immigrants in USA blog did a feature called Niños on the slopes about a new Park City, Utah programs to provide local Latino children with access to the sport:
The Niños program, sponsored by St. Mary's Catholic Church, exists to bridge the cultural divide between, generally speaking, the affluent whites of Park City and the Latino immigrants who work in the posh community's service industry.
"Here, in this town, skiing is the great equalizer," explained the Rev. Bob Bussen, known as "Father Bob," who tears down the mountain wearing his clerical collar. "If you can ski, you're as good as anyone."
- The All About Race blog has reported on an upsetting development in the Jena 6 case. It seems that the plea bargain the Mychal Bell accepted also included a promise to testify against the other five students facing charges:
With Bell being placed in the position of serving as the star witness against the other teens, they are more likely to be convicted if they refuse to follow Bell’s example and cop a plea. This is the underbelly of an unfair judicial system. Upon entering his guilty plea, Bell admitted that he hit the White student, knocking him unconscious, and joining others in kicking him after he fell to the floor. Therefore, the D.A. will be using the most culpable of the six teens to obtain convictions against those who were less involved. That’s the way the judicial system works – or doesn’t work.
- The Happening Here blog has posted about a nurses' strike at St. Luke's Hospital in San Francisco's Mission District. We've previously mentioned the hospital's plans to close down in order to shift its services to a more affluent neighborhood. The hospital has refused for months to negotiate a contract with the nurses union, who began striking last Thursday.
- Lastly, the Inteligenta Indiĝena Indigenismo Novaĵoservo blog has advised us of a Washington Post article stating that the federal government has paid $ 1.3 billion in farm subsidies since 2000 to people who do not farm. While our government policies are never devoid of irony, these subsidies are a particularly painful instance of unequal treatment given the "go-it-alone" narrative of individualism that conservatives use to justify cutting back on social services. In reality, however, great societies are built by investing in the well-being of the community, which was understood well by the authors of the New Deal legislation, the GI Bill and the HeadStart program.